Category Archives: USA

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: REFLECTIONS – on Chicago’s Cloud Gate

Anish Kapoor's masterpiece

Anish Kapoor’s masterpiece

I reflected short and hard, trying to think of artworks which have become icons of the city lucky or foresighted enough to have installed them.

Michelangelo’s David in Florence, Manneken Pis in Brussels, the Statue of Liberty…um…can anyone think of any others? The Christ of the Andes…that’s about it.

I really believe Chicago has cracked the elusive jackpot with Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.

Since it was unveiled in 2006 ‘The Bean’ has become the city’s most recognisable landmark; something to be included in every tourist brochure and a ‘must be photographed standing next to in a witty pose’ for every visitor to the windy city.

It struck me as a good subject for this Weekly Photo Challenge. Continue reading

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WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: RENEWAL – bravo, fake Chicago!

Another elegant Chicago building, I thought. Then I looked more closely.
I think the car is real, but everything else…

I thought this looked interesting. I looked again. I crossed the street. It was extraordinary.

LaSalle Towers, at 1211 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, was a nondescript high rise hotel until artist Richard Haas got to work on it in 1980. Continue reading

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CHICAGO’S THEATRE SCENE – better than Broadway?

Chicago Shakespeare Theater – high arts in the bearpit.


Two young performers are on stage in Chicago’s comedy mecca The Second City. She’s white. He’s African American.

HE: I thought we were soul-mates, but now I find out you watch Fox News! (Laugh from audience)
SHE: There’s an election coming. We ought to be informed.
HE: I don’t have to be informed, I’m black. (Big laugh) I mean, I’m black, Obama’s black. The choice is obvious.
SHE: Oh? So why not vote Republican? Mitt Romney loves Jesus, black people love Jesus…
HE: That’s a totally different Jesus! (Huge laugh)

It’s edgy stuff, and to visitors like us it reveals the city’s zeitgeist. The performers are excellent, and we’re thinking, ‘I wonder if they’ll make it in film or TV some day?’ They may be thinking the same thing.

It can’t be easy being an artist in Chicago. No sooner do you get a start here than you’re tempted to move east or west. Continue reading

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NEW YORK – is the Bronx going soft?

Maybe I’d fit in here if I got myself a tat or two.


Getting lost in the South Bronx is no picnic.

You get what you pay for with those phone apps and my downloadable New York tourist map cost less than a dollar. My cheap app decided the Bronx didn’t count as New York, as if nothing north of Manhattan could be of interest to cheapskates.

So shortly after the D Train crossed the Harlem River my phone’s screen went blank and left me mapless. Continue reading

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WALDORF ASTORIA – five stars in sensible shoes

Please wipe your feet before entering.

Do other people worry that they will feel awkward and inadequate in high class hotels? Or is it just me?

Mevrouw T and I generally travel on a tight budget, so we rarely see how the 1% live when on the road.  Is it a treat or an ordeal to join them for a day or two?

Here’s my report on our recent five star Chicago experience… Continue reading

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IMAGES OF CHICAGO – art is easy

The first thing we noticed in Chicago was the architecture. The second thing was the aerial ballet performed by window washers.

I’ve been trawling through my photos of our recent US excursion, ditching dozens of feeble efforts and finding a few shots worth keeping.

There’s a theme emerging to some of the ones I like.

Art and architecture are relatively easy to shoot. Someone else has already done the real creative work and the subjects patiently stay in the one spot while I fumble with the camera settings, think about lighting and find the best angle.

I also enjoy putting human observers of the art into the shots as well. It is an important part of the experience. Art, especially in public places, usually has people sharing the space. I don’t like asking them to move. Continue reading

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